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Ski trek aims to raise awareness of diabetes

CBC.ca

1251 days ago   Article ID# 1468513
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Canadian Diabetes Association

TORONTO, CANADA (CBC.ca) - Some Winnipeggers are skiing across Lake Winnipeg this weekend, as part of one man's mission to show that diabetes should not hold people back from what they want to do.

The group of five, led by Ernie Whelan, is starting the four-day, 78-kilometre ski trek on Friday, moving from the eastern shores near Manigatogan to the western shores at Gimli.

"We all have the full confidence that we know what we're doing, where we're going, and what gear we have. And we're ready for the worst-case scenario," Whelan said Thursday.

The group, Gliding Thru Barriers, wants to raise $12,000 for the Canadian Diabetes Association, as well as raise public awareness of the disease.

Whelan, who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes several years ago, said the disease has cost him his job as a Canadian Forces search and rescue technician.

"Ernie's story itself was one of those kinds of stories you hate to hear [about] in the medical profession," said Sadie Quintel, a team member who works as a pharmacist.

"He's healthy, he's fit, he's got his whole life ahead of him. And all of a sudden, [he has] diabetes."

Military officials have expressed concern about whether Whelan can continue to be a search and rescue techncian with a diabetes, he said.

"Those kinds of flat rules sometimes disadvantage people who they shouldn't," Quintel said.

Whelan is fighting the Canadian Forces' decision. In the meantime, he started Gliding Thru Barriers and organized a solo ski trek across Lake Winnipeg in February 2011.

Whelan said he raised more than $6,000 for the diabetes association during last year's trek, in which he skied 100 kilometres from Hecla Island to Gimli to Victoria Beach.

Copyright 2015 CBC.ca   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 1251 days ago   Article ID# 1468513

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